I’m a Natural Hair Product Junkie… And I’m Not Trying to Change

This ain’t even the half of it…

Many moons ago, okay… many months ago, I referred to myself as a “recovering product junkie”. I would stick only to staples and necessities (regular and deep conditioner, coconut oil, henna, DIY fluffy styling cream, detangler, and the occasional shampoo). My regimen was lackluster, but it worked well enough. But the longer I did it, the more unhappy I was. Not with my hair — I love my curls and coils (and even my heat damage), but with the products I was using. My regimen had no pizzaz, no spice, no sparkle. I would wistfully look down the aisle at Target and Sallys, picking up eye-catching containers then putting them down, trying to convince myself they weren’t necessary. Slowly but surely, I began making exceptions for myself.

“Come ON Christina! It’s on sale!”

“One new product can’t hurt…”

“You’ve heard SO many good things about this brand. Come on, just try it.”

“If you don’t like it, you can always return it.”

One day while organizing my products in a drawer, I realized I had gone into full relapse. Not only did I have tons of different products, but I also had multiples of them. Oh. I’m a product junkie and sucker for a sale. On that very day, I decided to embrace who I am and stop pretending to recover from my acute case of product junkie-ism. But before I fell into a product purchasing free-for all, I set some rules for myself. We’ll get into those a little later.

For those that may not be aware, a product junkie is defined (loosely) as a person who excessively and compulsively purchases haircare products with a general disregard for necessity. I’m sure there are several caveats and inclusions to that definition, but as a general set of peramaters, a product junkie just…buys stuff. There are some definite benefits to being a product junkie, although the syndrome has largely been labeled negative. Let’s explore the sunny and not-so-sunny parts of being a product junkie, from my perspective:

The Good

1. Exploring products. The thrill of “the hunt” is real!
2. Supporting small businesses. There are some good people out there making amazing products.
3. There’s always something new – a new product, a new ingredient, a new formula.*
4. DIY isn’t for everyone. Been there, tried that. I’d rather leave mixing to the experts.

The Bad

1. Being a product junkie can get expensive.
2. Product waste. Products do have expiration dates, and you may end up throwing some out from having held on to them too long.
3. There’s always something new – a new product, a new ingredient, a new formula.*

At the end of the day, I chose to embrace who I am in my natural journey and what I like. There’s so much pressure to create a regimen, have staples, and holy grail products. I’m not that kind of person, and never will be. I thrive under the freedom to express myself – whether it be in writing, debates, designing, styling my hair, or buying products. When it comes to my natural journey, one of the things that excites me the most is products. I love the thrill of the chase – researching the product, scoping out reviews (regardless of whether I trust them or not), examining the product in-store or online, and decoding ingredients. Say what you will, but that actually gets me pumped! I love the feeling of coming home to a package of hair products (even though I know exactly what’s in the box). I love that moment of triumph when two amazing products mix well together and give me the best wash n’ go I’ve ever seen in my life (until two more amazing products mix, and then another two, and then…you get the point). I even love the exploration process of products that don’t work out so well, because I am often able to provide honest and constructive feedback to the businesses themselves, and to wondering transitioners and naturals.

All in all, being a product junkie doesn’t have to be a terrible, life-ruining spiral into an abyss of pomades, conditioners, curl creams, and refresher sprays. There are logical and very doable steps every product junkie can take to explore products without falling into financial ruin. Earlier in this piece, I mentioned some general parameters that I set for myself in order to prevent a personal recession. Here are the rules I lay out for myself:

1. No more ”because so-and-so said” or “they used this in their tutorial” purchases. If I have a product similar to what a YouTuber used to create a certain style, I will just use what I have. I refuse to (any longer) rush out to buy a specific moisturizer or specific styling product.

2. Set a budget. Each month, I have $20 – $30 set aside to support my product junkie dalliances. To some, this may be too much. To others, not enough. For me, it is just right and a reasonable amount of money to spend on new products every month. Since I aim for quality and not quantity, this amounts to 1 – 2 products (maybe 3 – 4 if there’s a sale!) a month. Not a huge overload, and doesn’t leave me needing to purge my stash to make room for other products. For me, $20 – $30 means I will skip buying my lunch out 2 or 3 times in a month, or pass up Coffee Bean about 4 times.

3. Have standards.  There are certain ingredients in products that are dealbreakers for me, so I don’t bother wasting my money if the product I’m eyeballing contains them. Plain and simple.

Are you a product junkie? Why  or why not? Sound off – all opinions and views are welcome! Just keep in mind that we are all individuals, and must do what works for us. This article is certainly about how I own my product junkie-ism, but I would love to start a collective discussion about how everyone either takes ownership of or abandoned product junkie tendencies!